Mari e Monti Linguine
Mari e Monti means “The Seas and The Mountains” because this pasta dish marries the gift of both worlds: prawns and mushrooms, water and earth. It’s a classic Italian combination, also commonly found as a pizza dressing and it’s an ever green, loved by adults and children alike.
It’s another quick and easy recipe you can use any time for an impromptu delicious meal. The ingredients are all easy to keep in your pantry with pasta having a very long shelf life and the mushrooms and prawns that can be stored in the freezer. The only slightly more perishable one is the cream that gives a special flavour to this dish but that can also be skipped if you don’t have it or prefer to do without. The result will still be more than appreciable.
I love to use linguine, a flat spaghetti type similar to tagliatelle but made only with wheat and no eggs, but you can use spaghetti, tagliatelle o another classic is with pappardelle. Obviously any pasta will do but it’s really best suited for long type of pasta like the ones mentioned before.
You can use fresh mushrooms if you have, that will make it even better and potentially you can substitute the frozen mushroom with dried one but, in that case, please use a very small dose, no more than a scant tablespoon of them, soak them in hot water for at least 15 minutes before you use them and then chop them as finely as you can. Dry mushrooms have a very concentrated flavour and they can overcome everything else if used in excess, while fresh mushrooms are generally delicate.
Ingredients for 4/5 people
500 gr Linguine pasta
350/400 gr of shelled prawns (fresh or frozen)
200 gr of fresh or frozen porcini mushrooms
200 ml of fresh cream
30 gr of butter
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Ground black pepper
Put a big pan three quarter filled with water on the fire and bring it to boil. Here you will cook your pasta and pasta needs plenty of water.
In a flat pan melt add the oil and the butter and heat them. Add the prawns and the mushroom on medium fire and start cooking.
As soon as the water is boiling add some rock salt and then the pasta and let it cook following the maker’s instructions.
Add salt and pepper to your sauce and make sure you don’t overcook the prawns. As soon as they are cooked you sauce is ready and you can add the cream and just let it warm up.
When the pasta is ready mix everything together and serve.
About salt, pepper, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Parmesan Cheese
You will notice I haven’t given quantities’ indications for olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. The reason is because, and any home cook will agree with me, we normally don’t cook with the scale at hand. There is no time for all the fuss. Cooking is instinctive and part of our body memory. If you ask me how much salt to put in the water to boil pasta I honestly have no freaking idea. I dig my hand in the rock salt container and just dose it. I will put exactly what is needed. It comes with time and my suggestion is, if you are not there, just put some and taste the water. It should taste pretty salty to be able to salt the pasta in the short time that is cooking it.
Also the amount of salt, pepper and oil is very subjective, so I believe the right amount is the one you like. For the Parmesan cheese what to say… there is nothing like too much of it. Be careful here because the sauce flavour is delicate and too much cheese risks to cover up particularly the prawns flavour. I would probably advice not to add it at all, but you can give it and go and decide for yourself. Also careful that whenever you add Parmesan you “thicken” the sauce. In Italian we will say that it dries out the sauce.